MLHU: Mackie taking leave of absence, Summers appointed acting replacement

Middlesex-London Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie during a COVID media briefing. ( file photo)

Middlesex-London’s top doctor is taking some time away from the job.

Staff at the Middlesex-London Health Unit have been told that Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie is on a leave of absence.

Mackie hasn’t been on the Health Unit’s virtual media briefing since October 21 and has not tweeted since the following day.

According to an internal e-mail sent to MLHU staffers, the details of Mackie’s leave are “a personnel matter, and because of confidentiality considerations, the Board of Health will not be commenting publicly, nor will it be sharing any other details of specifics related to these arrangements.”

There was no indication in the e-mail as to when Mackie may return to the job. The e-mail didn’t specify whether Mackie is getting paid during his leave.

During Mackie’s leave, Associate Medical Officer of health Dr. Alex Summers has been appointed Acting Medical Officer of Health.

Summers has been responding to media requests for comment about COVID-19 related matters in the weeks since Mackie’s last media briefing.

Mackie has been the region’s Medical Officer of Health since 2013.

He’s been a highly visible and highly paid public official throughout the pandemic, earningĀ $414,926.68 during 2020. Over $100,000 of that amount was overtime pay.

In a one sentence news release sent to the media on Monday afternoon, the Health Unit confirmed the change.

“The Middlesex-London Board of Health has appointed Dr. Alex Summers as Acting Medical Officer of Health for the Middlesex-London Health Unit while Dr. Chris Mackie is taking a leave of absence from his duties as Medical Officer of Health,” the release said.

Board chair Maureen Cassidy, through Health Unit communications staff, has declined requests for further comment.